FARGO — North Dakota's lone representative in the U.S. House has officially begun his bid for reelection.
Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a Republican, announced his second run for the office Monday, Feb. 17, at the Holiday Inn in Fargo.
In his campaign launch speech, he listed off his accomplishments, pushed for local control, praised President Donald Trump and condemned Democrats in Congress, saying "liberal coastal elites will stop at nothing to try to tell us how to live our lives in North Dakota."
"Since President Trump's election, we have seen the true power of the American people," he said. "We have seen our economy thrive, our people have more money in their paychecks, and our families have greater outlooks on life. However, there are many Democrats in Congress who want to end all that, and they want to threaten what is really important to us here in North Dakota."
"However, the future of the country is bright, and we will take back the House, elect President Trump to another term and keep the majority in the Senate," he added.
An attorney from Dickinson, Armstrong won his first bid for Congress in 2018 with 60% of the vote, defeating Grand Forks Democrat Mac Schneider (36%) and Republican Charles Tuttle (4%). He replaced former Rep. Kevin Cramer, a Republican who successfully ran for the Senate the same year.
In the House, Armstrong sits on the Judiciary Committee, Oversight and Reform Committee, and Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
He promised to work with Democrats in Congress on certain issues, including criminal justice reform, immigration and prescription drug pricing.
"But there are things I will not waver on," he said. "I won't waver on ... life, I will not waver on our Second Amendment rights, and I will not waver on a federal government that wants to put regulation in place that will stifle North Dakota businesses, North Dakota families, North Dakota farms and North Dakota way of life."
Armstrong, who plans to make stops in Bismarck and Dickinson, N.D., on Tuesday, Feb. 18, will have at least two opponents for the 2020 election.
In a statement Monday, Democratic candidate Zach Raknerud of Minot challenged Armstrong's positive description of the economy, saying "the soaring costs of healthcare, childcare, education and more are placing a tremendous burden on everyday North Dakotans."
"The economy is not booming for working families in North Dakota," Raknerud said. "I'm bringing a voice to these urgent issues and the people facing them as my opponents continues to make it clear he will be a rubber stamp for the establishment GOP."
Along with Armstrong and Raknerud, Matthew Austin Gullo of Williston, N.D., has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for the House seat. Gullo has no known party affiliation, but FEC filings show he has a connection to a self-created group called "The Order of the Mantic Syndicate." The Forum called a number for Gulllo listed in his FEC filing, but it was no longer in service.